If you’re a homeowner, you might be torn on whether or not to sell your house right now. Maybe that’s because you don’t want to take on a higher mortgage rate on your next home. If that’s your biggest hurdle, understanding your equity may be exactly what you need to help you feel more comfortable making your move.
What Equity Is and How It Works
Equity is the current value of your home minus what you owe on the loan. And recently, that equity has been growing far faster than you may expect.
Over the last few years, home prices rose dramatically, and that gave your equity a big boost very quickly. While the market has started to normalize, there’s still an imbalance between the number of homes available for sale and the number of buyers looking to make a purchase. And it’s because homes are in such high demand that prices are back on the rise today. Rob Barber, CEO of ATTOM, a property data provider, explains:
“Equity levels were high even during the recent downturn, and now they are going back up and better than ever.”
How Equity Benefits You in Today’s Market
With today’s affordability challenges, that equity can be a game changer when you move. Here’s why. Based on data from ATTOM and the Census, nearly two-thirds (68.7%) of homeowners have either paid off their mortgages or have at least 50% equity (see chart below):
That means roughly 70% have a tremendous amount of equity right now.
Once you sell your house, you can use your equity to help with your next purchase. It could be some (if not all) of what you’ll need for your next down payment. It may even be enough to allow you to put a considerably larger down payment on your next home, so you don’t have to finance quite as much. And, if you’ve been in your current house for years, you may have even built up enough equity to pay in all cash. If that’s true for you, you’d be able to avoid borrowing altogether, so you wouldn’t have to worry about today’s mortgage rates.
How To Find Out How Much Equity You Have
The best way to learn how much you have is to reach out to a trusted real estate agent for a Professional Equity Assessment Report (PEAR).
If you’re planning to make a move, the equity you’ve gained can make a big impact. To find out just how much equity you have in your current home and how you can use it to fuel your next purchase, connect with a trusted real estate advisor.
If you’re a homeowner, odds are your equity has grown significantly over the last few years. Equity builds over time as home values grow and as you pay down your home loan. And, since home prices skyrocketed during the ‘unicorn’ years, you’ve likely gained more than you think.
According to the latest Equity Insights Report from CoreLogic, the average homeowner has more than $274,000 in equity right now. That much equity can help you achieve certain goals. In a recent article, Bankrate elaborates:
“While the pandemic created serious challenges, the silver lining for anyone who owned a home was the sizable equity gain. Understanding how home equity works, and how to leverage it, is important for any homeowner.”
Here are a few examples of how you can put your home equity to work for you.
1. Buy a Home That Fits Your Needs
If your current space no longer meets your needs, it might be time to think about moving to a bigger home. And if you’ve got too much space, downsizing to a smaller home could be just right. Either way, you can put your equity toward a down payment on a home that fits your changing lifestyle. A real estate agent can help you figure out how much equity you’ve got and how to use it when buying your next home.
2. Reinvest in Your Current Home
Renovations are a great option if you want to change your living space, but you aren’t yet ready to make a move. Home improvement projects give you the freedom to tailor your home to match your needs and personal style. But it’s important to consider the long-term benefits certain upgrades can bring to your home’s value. Lean on a real estate professional for the best advice on which improvement projects to prioritize in order to get the greatest return on your investment when you sell later on.
3. Pursue Personal Ambitions
Home equity can also serve as a catalyst for realizing your life-long dreams. That could mean investing in a new business venture, retirement, or funding an education. While you shouldn’t use your equity for unnecessary spending, using it responsibly for something meaningful and impactful can really make a difference in your life.
4. Understand Your Options to Avoid Foreclosure
Today the number of foreclosure filings remains below the norm, so there’s no need to fear a wave of foreclosed homes flooding the market. But unfortunately, there are still some homeowners who experience the foreclosure process each year. If you’re facing financial difficulties, having a clear understanding of your options and how your equity can help is crucial. Equity can act as a financial cushion that can be used in times of unexpected challenges or unforeseen circumstances that may disrupt your ability to make mortgage payments on time.
In an article, Freddie Mac explains it this way:
“If exiting your home is the best option for you, selling with equity may be a good option. When selling with equity, you are using the proceeds from selling your home at a higher price than the amount you owe on your mortgage to pay off your remaining mortgage debt.”
Your equity can be a game changer in reinvesting in your needs, pursuing your goals, and even helping you avoid foreclosure during difficult times. If you’re unsure how much equity you have in your home, connect with a local real estate professional so you can start planning your next move.
If you’re thinking of buying a home, chances are you’re paying attention to just about everything you hear about the housing market. And you’re getting your information from a variety of channels: the news, social media, your real estate agent, conversations with friends and loved ones, overhearing someone chatting at the local supermarket, the list goes on and on. Most likely, home prices and mortgage rates are coming up a lot.
To help cut through the noise and give you the information you need most, take a look at what the data says. Here are the top two questions you need to ask yourself about home prices and mortgage rates as you make your decision:
1. Where Do I Think Home Prices Are Heading?
One reliable place you can turn to for that information is the Home Price Expectation Survey from Pulsenomics – a survey of a national panel of over one hundred economists, real estate experts, and investment and market strategists.
According to the latest release, the experts surveyed are projecting slight depreciation this year (see the red in the graph below). But here’s the context you need most. The worst home price declines are already behind us, and prices are actually appreciating again in many markets. Not to mention, the small 0.37% depreciation HPES is showing for 2023 is far from the crash some people originally said would happen.
Now, let’s look to the future. The green in the graph below shows prices have turned a corner and are expected to appreciate in 2024 and beyond. After this year, the HPES is forecasting home price appreciation returning to more normal levels for the next several years.
So, why does this matter to you? It means your home will likely grow in value and you should gain home equity in the years ahead, but only if you buy now. If you wait, based on these forecasts, the home will only cost you more later on.
2. Where Do I Think Mortgage Rates Are Heading?
Over the past year, mortgage rates have risen in response to economic uncertainty, inflation, and more. We know based on the latest reports that inflation, while still high, has moderated from its peak. This is an encouraging sign for the market and for mortgage rates. Here’s why.
When inflation cools, mortgage rates generally fall in response. This may be why some experts are saying mortgage rates will pull back slightly over the next few quarters and settle somewhere around roughly 5.5 and 6% on average.
But, not even the experts can say with absolute certainty where mortgage rates will be next year, or even next month. That’s because there are so many factors that can impact what happens. So, to give you a lens into the various possible outcomes, here’s what you should consider:
- If you buy now and mortgage rates don’t change: You made a good move since home prices are projected to grow with time, so at least you beat rising prices.
- If you buy now and mortgage rates fall (as projected): You probably still made a good decision because you got the house before home prices appreciated more. And, you can always refinance your home later on if rates are lower.
- If you buy now and mortgage rates rise: If this happens, you made a great decision because you bought before both the price of the home and the mortgage rate went up.
If you’re thinking about buying a home, you need to know what’s expected with home prices and mortgage rates. While no one can say for certain where they’ll go, expert projections can give you powerful information to keep you informed. Lean on a trusted real estate professional who can add in an expert opinion on your local market.
- An agent is a really important part of selling your home because they bring a lot of skill and expertise to the sales process.
- They’ll explain what’s happening today, what that means for you, and how to price and market your house. They’re also skilled negotiators and well versed in the contracts and disclosures involved.
- Connect with a local real estate agent to ensure you have an expert helping you sell your house successfully.
Do you want to sell your house, but hesitate because you’re worried you won’t be able to find your next home in today’s market? You’re not alone, but there’s some good news that may ease your worries. New home construction is up and is becoming an increasingly significant part of the housing inventory.
That means when you go to put your house on the market this summer, considering newly built homes is crucial for expanding the options you’ll have for your next move.
Near-Record Percentage of New Home Inventory
Newly built homes today make up a near-record percentage of the total number of homes available for sale (see graph below):
In fact, as the data shows, newly built homes now make up 31% of the total for-sale inventory. Over the past couple of decades, newly built homes made up an average of only around 13% of total housing inventory from 1983 to 2019.
That means the percentage of the total available homes that are newly built is over two times higher than the norm.
Why This Matters to You
Overall, the supply of homes for sale is still low. And when there’s limited supply, it’s crucial to explore all of your available choices. New-home construction has emerged as a game changer with increasing inventory. Not to mention, recent data shows it’s gaining even more momentum as more newly built homes are underway and will be coming to the market in the months ahead.
Robert Dietz, Chief Economist at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), highlights the importance of newly built homes for those looking to buy in today’s housing market. Dietz states:
“With limited available housing inventory, new construction will continue to be a significant part of prospective buyers’ search in the quarters ahead.”
Don’t overlook this growing market segment and risk missing out on great opportunities to find your ideal home. Since new home construction accounts for roughly 31% of total for sale inventory, you could be cutting nearly one in three options from your search if you don’t consider newly built homes.
If you’re looking to make a move, a local real estate agent can help you sell your current house and explore newly built options in your area. They have the expertise you need to handle both sides of the process so you can move out of your current house and into your brand-new dream home.
Now’s the time to sell your house and take advantage of the momentum that’s building in new home construction. Reach out to a trusted real estate agent who can guide you throughout the selling and buying process so you can make your transition to a newly built home a reality.
If you’re thinking about selling your house right now, chances are it’s because something in your life has changed. And, while things like mortgage rates are a key part of your decision on what you’ll buy next, it’s important to not lose sight of the reason you want to make a change in the first place.
It’s true mortgage rates have climbed from the record lows we saw in recent years, and that has an impact on affordability. With rates where they are right now, some homeowners are deciding they’ll wait to sell because they don’t want to move and have a higher mortgage rate on their next home. As Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at Realtor.com, explains:
“. . . homeowners who locked in a 30-year fixed rate in the 2-3% range don’t necessarily want to give that up in exchange for a rate in the 6-7% range.”
But your lifestyle and your changing needs should matter more. Here are a few of the most common reasons people choose to sell today. Any one of these may be more important than keeping your current mortgage rate.
As Ali Wolf, Chief Economist at Zonda, says in a recent tweet:
“First-time and move-up buyers are both active . . . the latter driven by life changes. Divorce, marriage, new higher paid job, and existing home unsuitable all referenced.”
Some of the things that can motivate a move to a new area include changing jobs, a desire to be closer to friends and loved ones, wanting to live in a dream location, or just looking for a change in scenery.
For example, if you live in suburbia and just landed your dream job in NYC, you may be thinking about selling your current home and moving to the city for work.
Many homeowners decide to sell to move into a larger home. This is especially common when there’s a need for more room to entertain, a home office or gym, or additional bedrooms to accommodate a growing number of loved ones.
For example, if you’re living in a condo and decide it’s time to seek out a home with more space, or if your household is growing, it may be time to find a home that better fits those needs.
With inflation driving up everyday expenses, homeowners may also decide to sell to reduce maintenance and costs. Or, they may sell because someone’s moved out of the home recently and there’s now more space than needed. It could also be that they’ve recently retired or are ready for a change.
For example, you’ve just kicked off your retirement and you want to move to somewhere you can enjoy the warm weather and have less house to maintain. Your new lifestyle may be better suited for a different home.
Change in Relationship Status
Divorce, separation, or marriage are other common reasons individuals sell to buy different homes.
For example, if you’ve recently separated, it may be difficult to still live under one roof. Selling and downsizing may be better options.
If a homeowner faces mobility challenges or health issues that require specific living arrangements or modifications, they might sell their current home to find one that works better for them.
For example, you may be looking to sell your home and use the proceeds to help pay for a unit in an assisted-living facility.
With higher mortgage rates, there are some affordability challenges right now – but your needs and your lifestyle matter too. As a recent article from Bankrate says:
“Deciding whether it’s the right time to sell your home is a very personal decision. There are numerous important questions to consider, both financial and lifestyle-based, before putting your home on the market. . . . Your future plans and goals should be a significant part of the equation . . .”
If you’re ready to sell your house so you can make a move, connect with a real estate professional. That way you have an expert on your side to help you navigate the process and find a home that can deliver on what you’re looking for.